In December 2017, expecting parents Arun and Sudha anxiously awaited the arrival of their daughter Jaya. Upon her birth, their happiness quickly turned to concern, as she was born with a cleft lip and palate. Living in Chennai, India on less than $3 a day, the new parents worried how they would manage to care for Jaya and get her the cleft surgery she desperately needed.
During the first critical days, Sudha struggled to get Jaya to feed without choking. Thankfully, at only two weeks old, the family found local Smile Train Partner Sri Ramachandra Hospital and Jaya received her first examination. Sudha recalls, “I’d been nervous about Jaya’s health, but a nurse showed me how to feed Jaya and assured us that everything would be fine.” Then, to Sudha’s relief, Smile Train Partner Surgeon Dr. Jyotsna Murthy told her that once Jaya reached a healthy weight, she would perform a Smile Train sponsored cleft lip surgery at no cost to the family.
The family was unaware that, at nearly the same time, thousands of miles away, a new partnership between GSK and Smile Train was developing. In addition to GSK's expertise and strength in oral health, this expansive and multifaceted partnership includes an incredibly generous financial contribution — a gift that would soon link Jaya, Smile Train, and GSK forever.
Just a few months later, in April 2018, Jaya was healthy enough for surgery and her family went to Sri Ramachandra Hospital for her surgery. There, Arun and Sudha learned that Jaya would be the very first child to have her cleft surgery provided for by the funds received from GSK’s partnership with Smile Train.
Grateful that their daughter was receiving free cleft surgery, Jaya’s parents were further relieved when Dr. Murthy told them that she’d personally performed more than 7,000 Smile Train sponsored cleft surgeries and that Jaya was in safe hands by her skilled cleft team.
Dr. Murthy delivered on her promise — Jaya received a safe, world-class cleft lip surgery.
Today, Jaya is thriving. Her next surgery is scheduled for when she is nine months old. Sudha reports, “Jaya never quits smiling — thank you to GSK, Smile Train, and Dr. Murthy and her team.”
Inspired by reports of Jaya and the tens of thousands of other children that will receive free cleft surgeries and comprehensive cleft care thanks to their efforts, GSK employees are currently donating their time, skills, and funds to support Smile Train. Smile Train and GSK are united in a shared vision and commitment to help transform more children’s lives, one smile at a time.
To learn more about the GSK and Smile Train partnership, read the official joint press release. To help GSK’s efforts to raise smiles around the world, please make a gift today.